Convergent evolution of mimetic species confounds classification. From ScienceDaily:
The scientists discovered numerous cryptic species-two or more species erroneously classified as one species-as well as single species mistakenly described as two or three. Frequently, species discriminated with genetic data are each others’ closest relatives, but can be distinguished by stark genetic differences; this suggests a lack of interbreeding — a hallmark of species distinctiveness.
However, in Elymnias, Lohman and his associates found that cryptic species were unrelated to each other and resulted from a novel cause: mimicry. Different species on different islands of the Indo-Australian Archipelago frequently evolved to resemble a single, widespread model species, and different Elymnias species therefore evolved to resemble each other. Lohman and his colleagues conducted the comprehensive phylogenetic study using DNA sequence data from over 200 specimens representing nearly every species of Elymnias. Paper. (public access) – Chia-Hsuan Wei, David J. Lohman, Djunijanti Peggie, Shen-Horn Yen. An illustrated checklist of the genus Elymnias Hübner, 1818 (Nymphalidae, Satyrinae). ZooKeys, 2017; 676: 47 DOI: 10.3897/zookeys.676.12579 More.
Convergent evolution is a remarkable process that currently lacks a clear explanation. How, exactly, do the butterflies evolve to resemble each other over a limited period of time?
See also: Can we get past the “species” concept and learn something new about life?
Nothing says “Darwin snob” like indifference to the mess that the entire concept of speciation is in